CMNetwork E-bulletin: November/December 2016

    © Copyright M. Worthington & E. Carruthers 2012

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As early years practitioners it’s easy to assume ‘writing’ and mathematical notations belong on paper, but young children show us so many locations where they want to communicate through marks and symbols. Shereen drew and wrote following graphics on the front of some drawers.

Figure 1 Figure 2

Shereen drew a house with a long path, some people and letters (figure 1) and four girls and some letters (figure 2). In figure 3 Shereen wrote the numerals 1 – 9 and drew several stars.

Children’s free and spontaneous graphics enable them to explore the various visual systems that interest them, including written and mathematical symbols and signs.

Figure 3



  • Explorations with gestures, words, artefacts, marks, signs and symbols

  • GRAPHICACY: writing and children’s mathematical graphics

Gallery 7: The emergence of graphic symbols and texts in pretend play
Gallery 8: Children's graphic symbols and texts in self-initiated contexts.


Latest publications:

Worthington, M. and Van Oers, B. (2016) Pretend Play and the cultural foundations of mathematics. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal 24 (1). 51-66.

Worthington, M. and Van Oers, B. (2015) Children’s social literacies: Meaning making and the emergence of graphical signs and texts in pretence. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy 16(1), 1-29.

Carruthers, E. (2015). Listening to children's mathematics in school. In B. Perry., A. Gervasoni and A. MacDonald. Eds. Mathematics and Transition to School - International Perspectives. Sydney, Australia: Springer.

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